Although equipment is getting cheaper and cheaper, and more and more small-time bands are deciding to record their own demos and albums, the engineering prowess of the musicians is not getting any better. Self-produced records by indie bands still suck just as much as they did when they had to use a cassette player. So myspacers and people buying EPs at gigs are assaulted with poorer and poorer quality recordings.

This is also happening simultaneously with the skyrocketing of production values in mainstream music. People are hearing inhumanly perfect vocalists and weird, huge, fake sounding guitars on the radio and on their commercial CDs, and then go and listen to their local band's demo, and are unable to look past how bad the sonics are.

Studios are lowering their rates and going out of business because every band now thinks they can do everything on their own.

Why do you guys as bandleaders, make the decision to produce your own demos or albums? Is it cost-benefit? Do you hope that people will shed their conditioning and look past the poor sound?

And if studios are closing, so what? Do you feel any loyalty to the indie scene?

Are studios in your area too expensive?


Studios around here are I guess fairly priced. It's just that recording by myself will teach me more. And it also may be a decent career choice.
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the only reason many musicians arent making very good recordings with their home equipment is because they dont know what they are doing. with some research online and a couple of cheap purchases people could be recording decent demos. all it takes is learning some basic room treatments, mic placements, and utilization of software to create decent tracks.

but, to save time and sometimes money in the short term, there are usually fair priced local studios that can get decent sounding recordings.

the benefit of purchasing equipment is that even though it may cost more than recording an album at a studio, you can record whenever, as many tunes as you want for as long as the equipment lasts, and while having fun and learning the skill of music production.
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I used my highschool's band room for recording...mostly because we got a 40% discount on using it as I was in the band at that time.
But, self-recording for demoes is fine, but for studio recording...I'd recommend a professional producer who knows his way around the soundboard
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cuz ppl hate how power metal they are cuz they think its "gay" or w.e, which is immature and dirogitory
You can't really say that you can spend $200 on an M-Box and be able to produce anything that has any chance of competing with studios that have invested thousands and thousands of dollars. The experience isn't there, the equipment isn't there, and the room isn't there.

Sure it's cheap, fun, and I suppose educational, but the quality of recordings produced have their place as rehearsal aides, not actual releases. They could be practice runs for getting the sound you want, and then you try to recapture this in a real studio.

I guess I'm just irked by the this attitude of "I can do the same thing for myself that the studio is doing, only cheaper". It's just not true. Good engineers and producers are worth their weight in gold.

And yeah you can say that demos don't need to be that good, but is that even true? I'd argue that in today's internet-driven world, how a band performs and sounds in the studio is much more important than how they do live.
You can make a good sounding demo and a decent sounding album in a home studio with entry-level gear. We did. Good enough to get airplay on commercial radio and TV.


I look at learning how to record as learning another instrument. At the time we did our album, I had been playing this new 'studio instrument' for about 7-8 years. In that time, I have done a TON of reading and have gotten some good experience recording other people's demos and stuff.

I think a lot of people make the mistake of thinking they can get a cracked version of Cubase and they'll be able to make a CD just like they do in the real studios. I know I did... except I've been a legit Cubase user since day 1. Then I found out about the importance of mics, how to choose them, what to use them for, where to put them, and then preamps, and then outboard gear, and the importance of proper studio monitors and room construction, and, and and.....

If I knew going in that I would spend the better part of $8000 on stuff (not counting guitars and what-not) and 8 years learning how to do it before I would actually be able to get pretty close to what I wanted for our album, I surely would have just skipped all that and went to a pro studio.

But then again.... I *enjoy* recording.... so I have gained after all.

Could I get some more talent in the monitors, please?

I know it sounds crazy, but try to learn to inhale your voice. www.thebelcantotechnique.com

Chris is the king of relating music things to other objects in real life.
for me i live in las vegas and we got a lot of studios and it is a big price range from 50 dollars a hour to 300 dollars a hour. *300 is the palms hotel recording studio on 2nd floor*.

i have garage band on my computer and i use it just to record a song to see what we all think about it and if it works we will keep it then later on down the road i will consider spending 200 dollars for 4 hours in the studio working on the demo.

i just find studios getting more expensive here.
i think for a first demo theres not really anypoint spending the cash on studio time if you can do something decent sounding yourself. HOWEVER some people should really stay away from it, i can see what you mean especially with myspace there are ALOT of horribly horribly recorded bands.

my band (Our Escape)have done our first 6 track demo/ep ourselves and i think it worked out well, however in the future for our next recordings i would deffinately want to get into a proper studio
I'm all about recording myself. I have a good ear for dynamics, eqing and the such. I've also heard so many demos from bands that went to good studios that ended up sounding pretty bad.
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Know what's awesome? Having friends who went to school for producing and recording so they have free access to high-quality studios.

All my buddy asks is we buy him some food and a red bull or two while we're working.
And maybe we can fly away from here, surf on the debris of a broken scene...
I'll be taking an A level in Music Technology so I should be able to home record fairly well after that (at the mo I make do with a couple of decent recording programs and runnign my guitar into the suondcard or into my friends mac) however if the chance arose I may want to use a studio, it seems to be a whole lot easier with all the stuff there for you, set up correctly etc.
Though I'd still record a lot at home.
I'm setting up and learning to use my home studio...until I am comfortable with that, I will continue recording demos at the school TV studio where I work, where I have the assistance of my boss, who was in a speed metal band back in the day.
Well the band I play in does all of our own demos with software. We all have a lot of experience with recording, and can work digital/analog units. The demos usually come out fine, but if we were on a label we would pay for studio time. Or take the money and build a better studio, we like the basement environment. Once we went to a studio and it cost a fortune, and the recording wasn't of that great quality. Plus it is stuffy, and the engineers are douche bags. I know so many bands that just buy pro tools and some decent condensers. It is worth it in the long run to build your own studio.
I set up a home recording studio and I think its the best decision I've ever made. I've got a Tascam US-122L Audio/MIDI Interface, Cubase SX3, Reason 4 and Guitar Rig 3.

My band recently made a demo. We did the drums and bass (and guide guitar) in a profesional studio then we did the rest at my place. It seemed to flow alot better than the usual playing in the studio as there was no pressure of time restraints. As for the mixing and mastering, our manager knows a proffesional producer in Sweden and hes doing it for free. So I guess we're pretty lucky in that way.

I don't really see the arguement here, everyone should do what they thinks best for themselves. I spent 3 years using the software at college so im pretty good with it.

I certainly don't think its cost effective in the short term, certainly not for myself! However with technology, the recording studio is not the only way to get perfect sounding recordings these days, just more people need to work on their sound engineering skills.
honestly, the music industry is getting a little more faked with each autotune i hear and thats part of the reason why I insist on recording my stuff on my own. its fun, cheap, easy, and might be that one thing that people are looking for, purebred natural talent
I know this is an oldie that got bumped by a spam bot, but what the hey.

I find arguments on all sides a bit spurious, from the "we do it at home, yeah, keep it real!" to the "local studios are failing, why aren't you loyal to the indie scene??!!". People do what feels right by them.
On the verge of recording our first demo, my band has been debating this for awhile. Arguments going for both sides are the pretty obvious ones.
Recording at home means a one-time purchase of equipment which enables you to set up a free studio in your basement. You have as much time and as many tries as you need. You have full creative input.
Recording at a studio means a professional sound engineer who you can trust to give you a good sound that's worth your money.
Right now we're buying the equipment ourselves and gonna give it a shot. If this thread is still alive in a week or so, I'll tell you guys how it went (we all have some but little experience in this). It's bound to be a learning experience, and hell, we may get the sound we want.
Or we may never do it as well as we could have in the studio. (I was pro studio for this particular demo)

Edit: I live in Chicago and there are many studios around here with a wide range of prices. But judging by the looks of them, price goes hand in hand with quality.
Last edited by its_alive at Aug 22, 2011,
It has about nothing to do with location. If you were to put that band in a pro studio by themselves; their recording would still be horrible. It's more to do with the engineer than the gear. My band's demo was recorded on a budget of about $500, and it sounded as good as it could considering my inexperience with using Ozone for mastering.

If a band is going to record their own music, they need a good engineer in the band, and good gear. Said gear will differ for each band, and the sound you're going for (say for example, a metal band could trigger or sample the drums, making it easier to get a good sound, but a blues band wouldn't), but the location doesn't matter too much.